9-year-old’s ‘sacks of hope’ help feed homeless

VANCOUVER, Wash. (KOIN) – Nine-year-old Dusty Liulay isn’t like most kids his age.

“He’s got a bit of an old soul in him,” his mom, Jenny Lay, told KOIN 6 News.

While many of his peers spend their free time watching TV, playing video games or hanging out outside, Dusty says he enjoys more philanthropic hobbies.

“A lot of people run into a streak of bad luck and lose their homes and food,” Dusty said. “So I wanted to help bring hope to them.”

On his GoFundMe page, Dusty says he’s been volunteering at homeless shelters and soup kitchens in Philadelphia since he was 5. He hoped to continue his volunteer work when his family moved to the Pacific Northwest.

After checking out several soup kitchens in the Portland area, Dusty was sad to learn they required volunteers to be 17 or older.

“I felt sad, I really wanted to help the homeless,” Dusty said. “I get to sit down at a dinner table and get a whole table full of food, while they get crumbs.”

But he wasn’t giving up that easily. The 9-year-old took matters into his own hands and started Dusty’s Sacks of Hope to help feed the homeless.

Today, he’s got a small team of volunteers by his side.

Dusty’s Sacks of Hope will take your donations and make bagged lunches, me and my family will drive into Portland and pass them out to people that need them..there are a lot of homeless people in Portland! Even kids my age. I really want to help them, and with your help, I can.

Dusty’s cousin, 6th grader Caelie Agosta, manages their cash flow as the chief fundraising coordinator.

“I don’t really like just going outside and playing with my friends,” Caelie said. “I like changing the world because it’s fun to do.”

Caelie says each brown bag she and her cousin fill with food costs just under $2.

“$200 can feed 120-130 people,” she explained.

Dusty’s Sacks of Hope is currently collecting donations through a GoFundMe page. And no donation is too small: Dusty says even a $1 donation is great and can help feed someone in need.

As Dusty’s Sacks of Hope gains traction, his family says they intend to make the program a non-profit organization so donations will be tax deductible.

For more information or to make a donation, click here.